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      Patsy Lo

      #SpeakingInDance: Merry Kissmas

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      Once, a very dear friend of mine from Singapore said to me: “Patsy, when changes were happening to you when you started dancing, you started to embrace outwards. That moment, when you started to see things differently, reminds me of a quote from Neil Gaiman. He said: ‘The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.’”

      Marguerite Luuna (Instagram @margueriteluuna), a 19-year-old pre-professional dance student. We had an instant connection since we both lived in Singapore. Love her fearlessness, her quirkiness, and her beauty when she dances.
      Marguerite Luuna (Instagram @margueriteluuna), a 19-year-old pre-professional dance student. We had an instant connection since we both lived in Singapore. Love her fearlessness, her quirkiness, and her beauty when she dances.

      I laughed really hard when he said that to me. Because he compared my choice to leave Apple Inc. and move to Paris to pursue my passion for dance to “walking down the street naked”.

      Well, if I was “walking down the street naked”, then for sure I did not do it alone. There were many people cheering me on, trying to give me their jackets and giving me warm water.   

      My mum who lives in the United States, my aunt from Canada, my relatives from Tokyo and 30 of my friends and family from different parts of the world, were there for my first stage performance on June 21 this year at the Auditorium Saint Germain in Paris, France. When I had first mentioned to them that, yes, I was going on stage to perform, it was a passing comment. I did not expect them to actually show up. There are no words to express what that means to me.

      When I was younger, showing up did not mean so much. My rational brain would say, well, it is a long way to show up just for one day. There were other excuses: “Well, I am moving around too much. I don’t have time to keep in touch with everyone. They are not thinking of me anyway. Sending a gift is just as good.”

      Bouquets of love: flowers from the Netherlands and from friends in Paris after my first stage performance.
      Bouquets of love: flowers from the Netherlands and from friends in Paris after my first stage performance.

      Yes, now I know that sending a gift is not comparable to showing up. The memories that get embedded in our bodies, the peace and connections we feel and bring to each other.

      In many ways, dance has saved me and my relationships, together with my brush with death and my reconnection with God. Maybe not all of us have to give up our day job to pursue our passion. Doing what you love does not necessarily mean a change in lifestyle.

      Dance has, however, brought me back to the love and peace within me, something that I was given at birth. It has helped me cultivate an intelligence with my body that I did not have. As one of my contemporary Martha Graham dance teachers said: “We are sexy because we dance from the inside of ourselves. Not from the outside!” Well, now I am always sexy.

      This marks the end of my three-month series of weekly column, #SpeakingInDance, for Ming Pao Weekly. My gratitude to the publication for giving me the opportunity to share a bit of my personal story.

      I thank you, dear reader, especially for reading through my words. I hope that my columns have provided some levels of comfort or, simply, a different perspective. Here’s wishing all of you the best in your “inward” journey.

      Dance if it moves you.

      Make buttons if that brings you peace.

      Bake cakes if it fills you with love.

      Write if it makes your heart sing.

      Sing.

      Pray.

      Sit with nature.

      Keep dancing, in your very own way. 

      Anything that connects you with a sense of love, peace and trust, to you and to the others around you.

      May your worlds be filled with a sense of completeness.

      Merry Kissmas. 

      A picture of the beautiful and lovely Valentine Raymond (pre-professional dance student) and I. Thank you for refusing to honor me with grandma status in class when I literally so deserved it.
      A picture of the beautiful and lovely Valentine Raymond (pre-professional dance student) and I. Thank you for refusing to honor me with grandma status in class when I literally so deserved it.

      “You are not required to save the world, or anyone for the matter, with your art. It isn’t valuable only if it rescues or raises money or makes an enormous impact. It can be simply for the love of it. That is not frivolous or selfish in the slightest. If the only person it saves is you, that’s enough.”

      ~ Jen Hatmaker, American Christian author, speaker, blogger and television presenter

      Here’s a toast to to everyone who has shown up for me:

      HIGH SCHOOL SISTERS

      I saw my high school friends after almost 15 years for the first time at the funeral of our late classmate, Angela. Since then, they have been one of my anchors. Perhaps they always were and I simply failed to notice it. One of them, who came with her husband to see my performance in Paris, said: “I left my three kids at home with my mum because I thought you had a solo!”  Yes, I had a solo — the three seconds when I was walking on stage before everyone else came on.  (LOL)

      FRIENDS FROM PARIS AND AFAR

      My friend Jessica, who brought her beautiful daughter and her mom, and showed up with flowers from the Netherlands which she carried all the way on the train.

      Willy, Chris and Jim, my brothers from another mother and father, who were also there at my worst health.

      My dear friends in Paris who kept trying to take pictures of me inside the auditorium when they were not allowed to. Amongst them, my friend and editor, Suzanne. Thank you for your beautiful and heartfelt input to my columns.

      FAMILY

      Thank you for your unlimited patience and for forgiving me even though I blamed you for everything. For not leaving even when I was impossible. For giving me space when I needed it.

       

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      Patsy Lo is the founder and curator of sml Dance.  Originally from Hong Kong, Patsy worked in marketing for more than 20 years globally.  At 48, she left Apple Inc. after working for the American tech giant in various cities to become a full-time dance student in Paris, France.  She still lives in Paris, practising ballet and contemporary Graham technique.  Besides dancing more than 20 hours every week, she is also the founder of sml (@sml_dance on Instagram), which curates dance performances. The aim of the company is three fold, make dance more accessible, provide a bridge for choreographers and dancers to cross platforms, and ultimately, inspire people to reconnect within themselves and feel, move and expand more.
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